Welcome to The Saw’s Butcher Shop! It’s ya girl, The Saw. And today we have a Show Review for Cannibal Corpse’s stop in St Petersburg, FL – the last night of their North American Tour – with Dark Funeral, Immolation, and Black Anvil. My parents (Buzz-Saw and The O.G. Metalhead) made the trip down to catch the show, and they have a Show Review for The Butcher Shop Crew!
Jannas Live! is a famous club in downtown St. Pete. We arrived about an hour before doors so as to walk around the city and take in the sights. Downtown, the streets are lined with clubs, bars, eateries, and various street-side entertainment. There are two entrances to Jannas Live! around the block from one another. One is the VIP and the other is the official entrance. There were a lot of security the night we were there, but we breezed right in.
As we entered the gates, the club opens-up into a courtyard; a mid-sized open-air layout, surrounded by food and drink venders and merch tables. Buildings lined the perimeter of the festival-feeling venue, and the longest line in the courtyard was for Cannibal Corpse merch! A (higher than normal) stage ensured a good view from anywhere in the courtyard. Jannas Live! has a 2,000 capacity, and by the time the show started, most of that cap had been reached.
An American Black Metal outfit from New York City, Black Anvil opened the night with an awesome 30-minute set. They’ve been on the scene for 15 years, but we have never gotten to see them before tonight. All the songs played were off of their new album, Regenesis (Season of Mist). Black Anvil had a solid stage presence, an electrifying drummer, and Paul Delaney (bass, lead vocals) was the focal point of their time. They put on a very good show! And when Black Anvil were finished, Buzz-Saw and I just looked at each other, like, “WOW!” that was good! Some songs that stood-out were, “29,” “Echoes and Tapestry,” and “Regenesis.”
An American Death Metal band from New York City, Immolation is one of the pioneers of the NY Extreme Metal scene. They laid-out the blueprint for punishing, technical, Death Metal that many others would study in the following years. I had the opportunity to see them decades ago, but was excited to see them again on this tour; especially because their newest album, Acts of God (Nuclear Blast) was a beast, and my favorite of theirs to date.
Immolation came on stage without much fanfare (save for an explosion of cheers and goat horns from the near capacity crowd) and proceeded to crush everything in sight! Playing songs from their entire 30+ year catalogue – including quite a few from the new album – the band was perfect and precise in their execution; brutal and unrelenting, Immolation would have blown the lid off the place (if it had one)! Dolan’s (bass, vocals) voice is awesome! Deep gutterals and growls, he was crystal clear in the spatter! From the newest album, they performed, An Act of God,” “The Age of No Light,” “Noose of Thorns” (which they dedicated to Black Anvil), “Overtures of the Wicked,” and “When Halos Burn.” Immolation put on a great show! An excellent performance from everyone, but especially Vigna (guitars), who has an awesome presence and really worked the crowd up with his interactions and playing.
FULL DISCLOSURE – I made the trip from NC to FL for this purpose: To witness the spectacle that is Dark Funeral. I have listened to them for decades, but this was my first chance to see them live, and I wasn’t missing it! They are from Sweden, and do not come to America often.
The stage was set with the Nosferatu backdrop, inverted crosses, pentagrams, visions of Hell, and red and blue lights. The intro began as Dark Funeral slowly, almost inhumanly, walked onto the stage. The capacity crowd burst into a roar! Horns flying! The intro faded into a voice saying, “There is no God, here” as the band burst into “Unchain My Soul.” I cannot begin to describe accurately, with words, the overall sense of the performance. It was an incredible display, from beginning to end. The band members never came out of character – calm, fixed; in spite of blast beats, walls of sound, and crushing melodies.
For most of Dark Funeral’s show, Lord Arhiman (guitar) stayed stage left (as usual), with his trademark stance and menacing stare. Chaq Mol (guitar) and Adra-Melek (bass) stayed mostly stage right, head-banging together and assuming their own patented stage presence while interacting with the crowd. Jalomaah is an incredible drummer! Very fast rolls, blinding double bass, and a deafening blast beat on a snare that hit with a “CRACK” every time!
The musicians were perfect; a veritable machine. But the star of the show (IMO) was Heljamadr (vocals). With very little excitement (the roll that he plays well, from front to back) he delivered every syllable of every word in every song perfectly – with power and clarity. Heljamadr utilizes (mostly) a forceful Blackened vocal delivery, with the rumble of a deep growl (without actually growling). Oh, he does have a deep register gutteral that he uses sparingly, but we heard it clearly a few times Saturday night! His favorite expression seems to be an ungodly “ROAR,” with a few exceptions, that makes an appearance in every song. Heljamadr stalks the entire stage, sometimes in near total darkness, but always wickedly staring into the crowd. On “Nail Them to the Cross,” his prop is a large crucifix, which he slowly licks and wipes on his crotch, then spits on. He very forcefully (literally) waves the Dark Funeral flag, with the most excitement he’s mustered all night on “Where Shadows Forever Reign,” the last of the night. And he dedicates the song, “When I’m Gone,” ‘To Whom It May Concern’.
Dark Funeral have one of the best stage shows, best stage presence, and best creepy stage persona of any band that I’ve ever seen! They played a set of songs from their (almost) 30-year catalog:
- Unchain My Soul
- Hail Murder
- My Funeral
- The Secrets of the Black Arts
- Open the Gates
- When I’m Gone
- Nail Them to the Cross
- Let the Devil In
- Where Shadows Forever Reign
Now, the stage is cleared. Some amps and heads, Paul’s drum set, and a large banner that says, Cannibal Corpse, are the only “props” for the KINGS of Brutal Death Metal! I’ve seen them many times, and a “propped” stage show is not what you’ll get from Cannibal Corpse. Corpsegrinder (vocals), with his vicious vocal delivery, and inhuman wind-milling and bashing head-banging; the band’s crushing riffs, and bone breaking drumming are all the stage show you need! I was excited to see Erik Rutan – I haven’t seen Corpse since he joined the band as lead guitarist. And he is a blistering guitarist that fits in easily with Corpse.
So, without any prelude, the lights dim, and out walk Cannibal Corpse. No words, with only the roar of the crowd and thousands of goat horns in the air the band takes their places. Again, without a greeting, we were steamrolled with “Scourge of Iron.” The crowd, which has been very energetic all night, for every band, lost their minds! A huge pit, crowd surfing, people hanging from trees and light poles; the entire capacity is lost in the frenzy! It was an incredible experience.
Once again, I must say, if you have never experienced Cannibal Corpse, live, you are really missing out. There are absolutely no bells and whistles (as they say) to distract you from being pounded into dust! The presence of the band, and the mass of humanity, loving the music – particularly Death Metal – is an experience like no other.
The Cannibal Corpse set-list for this tour consisted of:
- Scourge of Iron
- The Time to Kill is Now
- Inhumane Harvest
- Code of the Slashers
- Fucked with a Knife
- The Wretched Spawn
- Kill or Become
- I Cum Blood (which, as usual, Corpsegrinder dedicates to all the women)
- Evisceration Plague
- Death Walking Terror
- Condemnation Contagion
Buzz-Saw said the most striking thing to her was the reaction of the crowd to the Black Metal bands. There were several fans wearing corpse paint, but the crowd as a whole were of the Death Metal sort. They broke out in a circle pit, and were crowd surfing, for Black Anvil and (especially) Dark Funeral. We decided that what we’ve always insisted was proven Saturday night – Death Metal fans accept anyone into the fold. And if a band can make us move, then move with force we shall!
For me: I love Death Metal, and I love Black Metal. So, the combination of this night was a recipe to one of the best shows I have ever been. Several things from the night are burned into my memory: First, Dark Funeral were INCREDIBLE! And Heljamadr’s stage presence and persona haunt me! LOL I love it! Secondly, the way that Rob Barrett (Cannibal Corpse rhythm guitarist) watches over the crowd – he doesn’t head-bang anymore, but he’s ridiculously accurate in his execution of the complicated song structures; all the while, he’s watching the crowd to make sure everyone is taking their medicine. And finally, this was one of the best crowds I have ever been a part of in my entire 40+ year history with Metal. We were right across the Bay from Tampa, the home of Florida Death Metal. Is there really something regional that informs the people/bands?